Month: February 2015

Spicy cucumber salad

Spicy and Simply Refreshing Vinegar Cucumber Salad

Do you remember what you ate last weekend?  For me, we met up with a Malaysian friend of mine who just arrived to Melbourne with her family.  I brought them to my all-time-favourite Sichuan restaurant located in the heart of Toorak Rd, near Melbourne CBD.  It’s also my return to this restaurant since my last visit a year ago. Ask me if I like Sichuan? Yes! I love Sichuan but you can say that initially I disliked it because of the perception that Sichuan means mouth numbing, heart thumping and uncomfortably spicy. The pictures depicting oily, spicy, red-colored food is really really deceptive 🙂 So, this dish is not as spicy or mouth numbing as it looks.  Just because it’s red and sichuan-pepper-corned doesn’t mean it’s really really spicy. Surprisingly it tastes refreshingly good when served chilled and really really tasty with the addition of toasted sesame seeds.  The black vinegar with chilli dressing gives a hint of black magic…if you know what I mean 🙂 Spicy Vinegar Cucumber Salad (adapted from Sebastian Goh’s The Hot & …

Baked chicken wing parcels

Baked Chicken Wing Parcels

After a very chill out weekend (such rarity these days) and lazy cooking at home, I am feeling very very lazy.  Must have been due to the cumulated tiredness of CNY preparations last week.  Now that the festival commotion’s over – it’s back to serious work – in the kitchen, that is. I have always loved anything that’s baked in parcels, what the French cooking would refer to as En papillote or in Italian, it’s called al cartoccio.  In Chinese, we call it Zhi Pau.  The method of cooking includes food that is is put into a folded parcel (typically made from parchment paper) and then baked, thus letting its own juices and marinade to cook it, infusing much flavours. A Zhi Pau should be served wrapped and opened at the table so that the aromatic steam let out from the parcels can be captured by everyone.  And make sure you watch those facial expression – it’s divine! “Be aware of the smell – suck them all in for they will travel into your soul”  Baked Chicken Wing Parcels (adapted from Sino …

The Eastern & Oriental Cookbook

{Cookbook Review} The Eastern & Oriental Cookbook by Will Ricker

I am a cookbook addict.  I belong to to the cookbook anonymous club, if there is any.  Even hubby knows that and he will not interfere in my cookbook shopping spree.  Phew! Cooking out of cookbooks is fun but improvising them is even better.  Why create when there are good recipes out there? Today I’m going to share with you a cookbook by Will Ricker: The Eastern & Oriental Cookbook.  If you noticed, I have attempted some recipes from this book and so far I’m loving it. I was sold the moment I saw the name – Eastern & Oriental – which has an old fashioned romantic ring to it.  Reminds me of the heritage E&O hotel in Penang, Malaysia and the exclusive romantic train ride with the Eastern & Oriental Express. The book is in fact, named after restaurateur Will Ricker’s acclaimed restaurant in London, which is renowned for its style and sophistication.  What really entices me are the recipes, created with home cooks in mind.  The steps are easy to follow and much of the ingredients are …

Wasabi Ebikko Prawn

Wasabi Ebikko Prawn

Last weekend, we had some guests over.  It’s been a while but it was super fun for us and the kids, despite the weather.  While the elders were busy catching up, the kids were having a super fun splashy time at our backyard. Apart from that, we were also celebrating Burp!’s achievement – after 1.5 years of blogging, Burp! now has 2.2k visitors a week – I know it’s not a lot compare to other popular blogs but it is still super awesome.  I wouldn’t have done it without you guys 🙂 I am truly thankful for all your wonderful support and encouragement.  xoxoxo So, back to my dinner party, I had my menu planned and prepared a day before –   when it’s time, they just need to go into the oven for roasting and braising.  See! it’s so simple. While waiting for our mains to be ready, I served up some prawn bites.  I am, of course, super excited about them.  There are many elements in this entree that I love love love – prawns, ebikko or salmon roe, mayonnaise (the creamier …

Pineapple fried rice

Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao op sapparot)

Everywhere I go, I see pineapples here, there and everywhere.  So, while it’s still in season, I am very eager to do something with them again. After my baking episode of pineapple tarts a few weeks back and juicing the remainder, I am considering making a savoury dish now. Of course, the first thing that came to mind is Pineapple Fried Rice (in Thai – Khao op sapparot).  It is one of my family favourites and in this recipe, I’d like to follow the same presentation and flavour as I had always remembered – that is, served in a pineapple with a taste of sweet umami flavour If you noticed, this pineapple dish is a fancier pineapple fried rice with toasted nuts and raisins which of course further elevates the flavour. Pineapple Fried Rice (adapted from Adam Liaw’s Asian After Work) Serves 4 Ingredients: 4 cups cooked-overnight jasmine rice 2 tbsp vegetable oil 100 g chicken thigh fillets, sliced 100 g prawns, peeled and deveined 100 g fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes (keep the pineapple husk as serving plate) 1/2 cup frozen …

Sweet ‘o’ Sweetness Lychee Granita

The big V-day is just 1 sleep away and if you’ve not planned anything for that special someone, then you’d better think of something and get it done quickly. Here’s an idea for you, watch a movie like the highly anticipated 50 shades of grey and then followed by a romantic home-cook candle light dinner. If that’s too much of hard work, then may I suggest to just skip everything and go straight to icy sweet dessert like this lychee granita.  It’s easy and fast to make and goes really well with champagne 🙂 Lychee Granita (adapted from Will Ricker’s Eastern & Oriental Cookbook) Serves 4 Ingredients: 1 can lychee (576g) 60 g caster sugar 100 ml water juice of 1 lime stalks of mint leaves, for garnish Method: 1. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until sugar dissolves.  Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to boil with high heat.  Then turn the heat down, and gently simmer until a light caramel syrup forms.  Remove and set aside to cool. 2. Pour the can …

Chive and sesame tofu

Chive and Sesame Tofu

It’s been a busy busy week.  Nothing exciting has happened except that I received my new cookbooks! So, looks like I’m gonna be spending some time sorting out these new recipes 🙂 YAY.  Can’t wait. Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever got mesmerised by a beautiful dish that it’s the only thing you looked at when it’s been served to you?  That would be moi and I dare say that I feast with my eyes 🙂 So, that’s why, I’d be a total sucker and pay to dine out at restaurants. Would you? So, this dish is all about colours and texture.  It’s interesting how a mix and match of ingredients can literally turn a boring ol’ tofu dish to a feast-with-your-eyes dish. Now, a quick intro on chinese chives.  They’re one of those vegetables that you either like or dislike.  I don’t really fancy chives – because of their strong flavour, which can sometimes disrupt the taste.  However, in this recipe and together with the aromatic toasted sesame seeds, they add flavour, texture and contrasting colours to an otherwise boring tofu dish. Worth …

Korean fried chicken

Best Korean Fried Chicken

Look, if you noticed, my household has a thang for fried chicken wings.  My lil’ one will remind me each week that she wants to eat fried chicken wings – when we’re doing grocery, before we go to bed, when we’re reading, eating – it’s an obsession and it’s taking over my mind by storm. “Every night I dreamt of chicken wings! Have I gone mad?”  I’ve tried a fair share of professional fried chicken and home-cooked fried chicken and the real deal ones usually come with paper-thin light crunch, followed by that steamy fragrant aroma before revealing that tender juicy white meat inside. When making fried chicken, I’d much prefer to use chicken wings.  Other than the fact that my lil’ one is obsessed over chicken wings, it also cooks faster and has a good coverage of skin vs meat. Korean fried chicken (KFC) is also known as double-fried chicken – popular as street snack or bar food in Korea. So, if you’re watching a game or having some mates over, this is a superb snack to make and best …

Baby bok choi

Baby Bok Choi with Ginger & Soy

I am a big big fan of chinese stir fry vegetables especially the leafy ones.   Seriously how wrong can you go with simple stir fry greens, right?  It’s one of those dishes that we don’t really pay much attention to because they’re just there to complete part of a healthy full meal.  Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be boring. The key to chinese stir fry vegetables is of course fresh, fresh and fresh greens.  I love all kinds of leafy greens but baby bok choi (I stress again the word baby) is my favourite because  it’s much sweeter than their larger siblings. With the classic combination of soy, ginger and garlic, who would have thought that eating simple stir fry chinese vegetables can be so enjoyable 🙂 Baby Boi Choi with Ginger & Soy (adapted from Will Ricker’s The Eastern & Oriental Cookbook)  Serves 3 (as part of shared meal) Ingredients: 3 heads baby bok choi, thoroughly cleaned to remove soil residue 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 clove garlic, crushed to paste-like 2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and julienned 1 …

Pineapple tart

Buttery & Crumbly Pineapple Tarts (凤梨酥)

I’m into my second week of Chinese New Year (CNY) baking, woot! woot! and I’m loving it.  With containers of cookies (with red plastic caps) in the living room and CNY decors all up, it all looks like we’re ready to celebrate and welcome the new year.  Feels good to keep the tradition alive, at least, when we’re far away from our beloved home. Last week, I made Chinese Peanut Cookies  and it was so delicious that my family wiped out almost all of it.  This week, I made yet another of my favourite cookie – Pineapple tarts (凤梨酥), that I grew up with.  They’re so addictively tasty with a good balance of buttery melt-in-your-mouth pastry and sweet tangy pineapple jam – thank you Nasi Lemak Lover for sharing the recipe! With CNY around the corner, the Chinese will go all the way out to buy pineapples to cook/bake or display as decor.  To the hokkiens, pineapple is called ong lai.  Ong means “prosperous” and lai means “to come”. Let me start by saying that pineapple tarts are not easy to …